Defending Opioid Treatment Agreements:  Hastings Center Report

Joshua B. Rager (IU Medical School student) and Peter H. Schwartz, Interim Director of the IU Center for Bioethics just published Defending Opiod Treatment Agreements:  Disclosure, Not Promises in the May/June 2017 issue of the Hastings Center Report.  Below is an abstract of the article: 

In order to receive controlled pain medications for chronic non-oncologic pain, patients often must sign a “narcotic contract” or “opioid treatment agreement” in which they promise not to give pills to others, use illegal drugs, or seek controlled medications from health care providers. In addition, they must agree to use the medication as prescribed and to come to the clinic for drug testing and pill counts. Patients acknowledge that if they violate the opioid treatment agreement (OTA), they may no longer receive controlled medications. OTAs have been widely implemented since they were recommended by multiple national bodies to decrease misuse and diversion of narcotic medications. But critics argue that OTAs are ethically suspect, if not unethical, and should be used with extreme care if at all. We agree that OTAs pose real dangers and must be implemented carefully. But we also believe that the most serious criticisms stem from a mistaken understanding of OTAs’ purpose and ethical basis.

For a PDF version of the complete article - click here.

Funding supporting this work was provided to Joshua Rager by the Myles and Peg Brand Fellowship in Bioethics at Indiana University–Purdue University, Indianapolis, and to Peter Schwartz by the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (with the National Institutes of Health–National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences grant 1 UL TR001108-01).

Upcoming Events

On Tuesday, July 11 from 12:00 noon - 1:00 p.m., Dr. Tuan Tran, Assistant Professor of Medicine will present Applying Systems Biology Approaches to Studies of Acquired Immunity to Malaria in African Children.  The presentation is part of the IU Center for Bioethics and IU Center for Global Health Seminar Series.  The talk will be given in RO121, Rotary Building.  Everyone is welcome.  Lunch is provided.  Unable to attend?  Please join us using the web conference link:  Conference ID:  232749095 (if prompted).

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